Jesus’ Message, His Men, and Their Ministry | Christian Sermon by Steve Dighton
Our text is about the early beginnings of Jesus’ ministry—His simple message, the men He would select, and the rapid spread of His ministry. God sovereignly chooses and uses unlikely men to accomplish extraordinary things.
His Simple Message (v. 17)
Matthew gives us the simple and concise message that Jesus was proclaiming. It was a simple, saving, and sobering message.
The message of repentance was not a new and trendy message originating with Jesus. No, it was the message of all the prophets, and it was the mirror-image of the message of John the Baptist (Matt. 3:1). Repentance is not a once-for-all-time event. It’s to be the continual, habitual practice of everyone who desires to live their life for God.
The kingdom is now present tense. Jesus ushered in an age of righteousness—personifying God’s rule and reign. He was and is looking for men and women who would humble themselves and turn from a life of pretense, of permissiveness and perversion and pride, and find rest and resolve in living their life for God in the protective and peaceful kingdom of God (John 3:6–7).
His Select Men (vv. 18–22)
These men would go on mission with Him to accomplish His agenda, His mission, and His mandate. The mission would be one of rescuing men from the fields of sin. His passion was evidenced in Matthew 23:27. His purpose was declared in Luke 19:10.
We have two sets of brothers here. The similarities were that they were two brothers, same vocation and same response to Jesus’ call. Both “immediately” began a journey that would shape their lives and the future of the Christian faith.
These men were rough and uncultured. Peter was impulsive and capricious. James and John were aggressive and short-tempered.
The point is these were ordinary men who would do extraordinary things. These are the kind of people Jesus is looking for. He chooses “diamonds in the rough” and models them into something extraordinary for His purpose.
His Spreading Ministry (v. 23)
Jesus stayed in motion—traveling the entire region of Galilee.
Jesus’ teaching in the synagogue was basically expository, as He would take Scriptures and explain them section by section, precept by precept, and verse by verse with the purpose of teaching the truth. Hosea 4:6 speaks of our need for knowledge of the Word.
The good news was the inspirational and transformational message that Christ had come. While the target of teaching is the head, the focus of proclamation is the heart. The gospel calls for life change—for recalibration. Not merely to think differently but to be different.
He made the blind see, the lame walk; He even raised the dead. Jesus had compassion and also was validating His deity—that He was the Son of God.
As Jesus called these select men for the purpose of propagating the gospel, He still sovereignly calls us to get engaged in His worldwide mission of redemption.
Steve Dighton is senior pastoral advisor at the Kansas City-area Lenexa Baptist Church in Lenexa, Kan., a church he founded 25 years ago and where he served as senior pastor until this past spring.